QUANTICO, Va. — Battling a disability was the furthest thing from Larry Hubbard’s mind in the first days of spring 2011. He was – and still is – a contract specialist in Marine Corps Systems Command’s (MCSC) Infantry Weapons Systems (IWS) program management office buying Optics and Non-Lethal Systems. Then he suffered a stroke April 24 that affected the right side of his body. Even with therapy since then, he still experiences physical challenges on his right side.
Despite his condition, he has persevered and is one of several Command employees who will be spotlighted during National Disability Employment Awareness Month. Held each October, National Disability Employment Awareness Month is a national campaign that raises awareness about disability employment issues and celebrates the many and varied contributions of America's workers with disabilities. This year's theme is "A Strong Workforce is an Inclusive Workforce: What Can YOU Do?"
In the case of Larry Hubbard, that means doing a lot. He has no choice if he wants to get on with his life as it was before he was struck down.
“Gaining access to buildings by stairs is very challenging with my right leg and right arm not being 100 percent,” Hubbard said. “Fortunately, I have very easy access to the elevator in Bldg. 2203. Carrying anything in my arms is extremely difficult since I have to use a cane when I go anywhere. Typing is a challenge with one hand. I use a head set when I use the phone. I have yet to start driving again.”
He cited the elevator as “a tremendous help, and I am thankful to the Command for installing it in this building. I am thankful to my friends, who work here with me. They graciously bring me to work and take me home each day. I am thankful to Colonel [Andrew] Bianca [IWS Program Manager], Robin Kuschel [IWS Assistant Program Manager for Contracts] and others who helped me secure the reasonable accommodations that I use each day to make my work easier to manage.”
To all who have helped him in the last 18 months, Hubbard said, “Thank you for being patient with me.” Through his ordeal he is most proud of keeping a positive attitude as he continues to work with his therapist toward full recovery.
Considering National Disability Employment Awareness Month, Hubbard thinks the observance “is a great idea. Having everyone in the work place aware of this program is very good. I had no idea that I would have a disability like this before this happened. Many other people might never know when or if they may need assistance after an illness or disability. Having knowledge can make all the difference in a person’s situation.”
He added that making people aware and caring about the disabled is a very good thing.
“People with disabilities have a lot to contribute to the Command,” he said. “Disabled persons can think and function very well within MCSC just as they do everywhere else in this great country when given the opportunity. It is important that the Command hire people with disabilities because disabled people are very capable and productive citizens. They are able and willing to contribute to our mission.”
His stroke has been a setback and an opportunity, Hubbard said. Either way, “I am thankful for being here and the chance to work with the professional people that I do. The National Disability Employment Awareness Month is a great example of the kind of people here the Command.”